The search for the Portuguese culinary stronghold in London led inevitably to Brixton and Stockwell, and the highly-reputed O Cantinho de Portugal seemed to fit the bill. A suitably sun-drenched Friday evening stroll away from Brixton tube, O Cantinho sits unassumingly on the bustling Stockwell Road.
Chilled vinho verde and bottles of Sagres arrived swiftly, as our record-equalling EatFIFA party of nine browsed a menu dominated by fish and grilled meat dishes. Starters ranged from the unimpressive (prawns and avocado) to the spectacular (a skewer of gargantuan grilled king prawns), via the tardy (a long-awaited plate of mussels). Service, despite the lax timekeeping, was cheerful and engaging.
On to the mains. Highlights were the skewer of wonderfully-seasoned beef (Espetada Madeirense) and a huge bowl of pork, potatoes and clams (Carne de Parco a Alentejana). Less well-received were the steaks – we hadn’t learned our lesson from EatBrazil, but we expect England and Argentina to deliver on this front – and the rather bland bacalhau. Still, the sensationally refreshing vinho verde continued to flow, as the restaurant began to fill with patrons and the general hubbub finally absorbed our chattiness. There was no room for dessert (a glaring omission, once again, that we must atone for next time), so out came the scorecards:
Value For Money: 62.8
Portugal leaps into third place behind Spain and Uruguay, thanks largely to the highly social attributes of good booze and a lively atmosphere, which compared favourably to the first five EatFIFA excursions.
Next up (subject to the FIFA rankings): England.